Dec 232011

Hired by the DOH (Department of Health) to do a documentary for their HIV/AIDS awareness program, Gil Bustamante (Jake Cuenca) is a young filmmaker. Using San Lazaro Hospital as a backdrop, he weaves a tale that combines various stories of people infected with the virus. Among those having their story told are heterosexuals, homosexuals, prostitutes, and intravenous drug users.

His documentary focuses on three major characters:

Heidi (Ma. Isabel Lopez), an ordinary housewife who contracted the virus from her philandering OFW husband. He died of AIDS three years ago, leaving her alone to care for their 9 year old son, Victor (JP Mesde) also an HIV patient.

Ivy (Iza Calzado), a young call center agent who discovers she is HIV positive when she tries to apply for work abroad. Her plans for a new life abroad destroyed, she must now face the world – her work, family, and friends – with a mistake from her past.

Vanessa (IC Mendoza), a cheerful young gay and stand-up comedian who engages in different sexual pleasures with multiple partners. He, with his very supportive parents, are willing and eager to shares his story.

For his own reasons, Gil is obsessed with finishing the documentary, even if some of his key subjects have either died or backed-out of the project. He learns that the fight against HIV/AIDS is not solely the responsibility of the government – it is a fight that demands responsible action from every individual.

In the end, he is triumphant in finishing the documentary as well as being able to face his own greatest fear…

The film is another campaign material of the Department of Health (DOH) to disseminate information on the prevention of Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

According to Dr. Enrique Tayag, DOH chief epidemiologist, cases of HIV and AIDS in the Philippines are continuously rising, thus, educating the public is very crucial.

“As of the moment, there are already 5, 625 cases of AIDS in the country,” revealed Tayag. “You might be next.”

Tayag emphasized that the department didn’t have a hand in choosing the stars to play roles in the movie.

“But we saw to it that the pieces of information in the script about HIV/AIDS are accurate,” Tayag quickly added.

“We believe that popular entertainment like the movies effectively drive the points of government programs to the public,” he underscored.

“HIV (Si Heidi, si Ivy at si V…)” will hit the local movie screens on the first day of December coinciding with the celebration of World AIDS Day.

A digital masterpiece by NEAL “BUBOY” TAN